In order to understand the full scale of Rolex’s commitment to its loyal customer base, you have to look not only at the products themselves, their quality and exclusivity, but also the brand’s own CSR and how it delivers on sustainable objectives.
First and foremost, what many customers and fans of the Rolex brand don’t know is that it is owned by a charitable trust, the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation. The reason behind this is that the founder, Wilsdorf himself, wanted to protect the Rolex name and business from being expanded for the financial gain of shareholders – instead protecting the interests of its customers, loyal followers, and hard-working craftsmen and employees.
As such, Rolex doesn’t just design and make watches in order to boost its profits; it also supports a wide selection of different causes, and is known as one of the top luxury sponsors in sports and other events across the world. For example, various golfing and equestrian tournaments will have the Rolex name attached to them, with the brand holding a longstanding commitment to player awards and tournaments.
In this blog, we’re taking a look at the Rolex which lies beyond the watches and iconic designs – considering how such a luxury and iconic brand makes a difference through its corporate social responsibility.
What Is CSR and Why Does It Matter?
CSR, also known as corporate social responsibility, is the way that brands and businesses give back to society through their operations, actions, and business activities. It generally refers to specific strategies that touch on social goals and environmental goals, ensuring that a business is operating in a way which is sustainable, and which avoids causing damage on a human and environmental level.
For a brand that is as well known as Rolex, the CSR goals that the business sets and the way it actions them is a decision which sits firmly in the spotlight, and which has an impact on how customers engage with the brand. With consumers more attuned than ever to the importance of environmental and social goals and positive movements, brands that aren’t doing their bit get pushed aside for forward-thinking brands – with Rolex seeking to stay ahead of the curve and at the forefront of the luxury market.
In short, CSR matters to brands in the modern world because it matters to consumers, and because there is more awareness now of the damage that can be done by extreme scaling and international growth. Rolex doesn’t just sponsor sporting events; it also contributes towards a range of causes and innovative concepts that are designed to optimise and maximise future benefits for society – with the following examples just some of the ways in which Rolex makes a positive difference.
How Does Rolex Deliver on Its CSR Goals and Ensure Optimum Sustainability?
Rolex may be a brand that is synonymous with luxury sport and with its professional collection of watches, but beyond its affinity with sport, it is also a brand which supports innovation, progression, and opportunity.
Three of its biggest partnerships span the National Geographical Society, TED, and the Rolex Award for Enterprise, all of which are concerned with the environment and the way that Rolex can help to further the positive work of others in specialist areas and with specific skill sets.
Other ways that Rolex enhances its corporate social responsibility are through the three key business objectives of any CSR strategy: environment, social, and governance goals.
From an environmental standpoint, Rolex is already making significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint, by using renewable energy sources and exploring alternative ways of working throughout its manufacturing facilities. The brand has also renewed its commitment to the sustainable sourcing of core materials, including gold and gemstones, is doing what it can to reduce waste and improve recycling, and now uses recycled plastic for its packaging.
The social side of Rolex’s commitment can be seen through the partnerships and sponsorships mentioned earlier in this piece, and through the educational programmes and initiatives that Rolex supports from a corporate perspective.
Finally, the governance aspect of Rolex’s CSR goals is covered by the responsible company structure and the fact that every policy outlines the company’s commitment to protecting the best interests of staff and customers.
It is inescapable that Rolex sets the gold standard in product creation and marketing, with every new and vintage Rolex boasting an endless list of prospective buyers looking to get their hands on a coveted authentic Rolex watch. With this great reputation comes a great responsibility – with the CSR commitment and progress made by the brand demonstrating its desire to stay at the forefront of the pack when it comes to both delivering quality and giving back.
Rolex and Philanthropy: Charitable Work
Rolex is an example of a rare case, in that it is owned by a charitable trust, yet it still makes a profit – so can it really be called a non-profit organisation?
In short, Rolex as a brand is a for-profit company; however, its parent organisation is a non-profit organisation, and so technically it is classed as a not-for-profit organisation as a whole. Regardless of what it is termed, Rolex as a brand donates huge sums to charity and is recognised for the way it supports and spearheads many campaigns to create a better future, both in sport and in other areas, including the environment, enterprise innovation, and more.
When Wilsdorf passed Rolex to the five trustees of the foundation upon his death, the company was originally meant to fund secret charities – though this is not exactly a secret anymore, with some funded projects including the Rolex Award for Enterprise and The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Art Initiative.
To conclude, Rolex is a brand that is committed to making a difference, channelling much of its profit into funding different projects and charitable initiatives from a selection of industries. When Rolex makes money, others benefit – and that’s the underlying principle that the founder of the brand, Hans Wilsdorf, wanted to support.